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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has posted details of her Students First Scholarships proposal online. Reynolds is proposing Education Savings Accounts for a limited group of families.

According to the Governor’s website, parents who choose to move their eligible children from public to private schools or other educational programs will receive a portion of the per-pupil funds allocated annually by the state to use for qualified educational expenses.

Funds would be deposited into an ESA each year until the student graduates from high school. Accounts are maintained following graduation and remaining funds can be used until the student is 23.

The scholarships would begin in fiscal year 2023 and be effective for the 2022-23 school year.

Eligible students must be currently enrolled in a public school for the 2021-22 school year, and have a household income that does not exceed 400 percent of the federal poverty level or have an individualized educational plan (IEP).

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Income eligibility is the same as that of Iowa’s School Tuition Organization programs.

There will only be 10,000 total scholarships available during the first year of implementation and would be divided equally to the two groups — students enrolled in public school and switching as well as students with an IEP.

Should not all 5,000 scholarships be used by one group, the remaining scholarships would be eligible for anyone on a waiting list in the other group.

According to the Governor’s website, students already attending an educational setting other than a public school will not receive any opportunity for an ESA.

During her Condition of the State address, Reynolds said “every parent” deserves a choice in education.

The actual bill, however, has not been posted to the legislative website.

Author: Jacob Hall

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